Why Presidency is outraged at suspect’s escape
Kabir Sokoto, outcast at home, terror in Abuja
How top persons in Sokoto connived with suspect
Senate begins probe, Umar others seek trial, dismissal
THE police yesterday placed a ransom of N50 million on fundamentalist Islamic group, Boko Haram member, Mallam Kabir Umar Sokoto, who allegedly masterminded the Christmas Day bombing of a Church at Madalla, Niger State.
A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Olusola Amore in Abuja last night said Sokoto had been declared wanted.
The statement read: “The Police High Command has declared Kabiru Umar (a.k.a. Kabir Sokoto) wanted in connection with Cases of Bombing and Terrorism across the Northern States of the Federation…which resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property.
“Kabir Umar who hails from Biu, Borno State, was last known to be residing at Bulletin Quarters, Abaji, FCT. He is aged 28 years, fair in complexion and speaks English, Hausa and Arabic languages fluently.
“The Nigeria Police has therefore placed a monetary reward of N50 million for anyone who has useful information regarding whereabouts of the suspect or that will lead to his arrest should please report to the nearest Police Station nationwide.”
The Senate yesterday joined in the efforts to investigate the escape amid insight into why the Presidency is outraged by the development and the complicity of some top persons in Sokoto who had shielded the suspect.
Security officials told The Guardian yesterday that the Presidency was riled by the escape because such bungling of security matters was now becoming a pattern.
It was learnt that insiders in the intelligence community had indeed done a wonderful job of trailing Sokoto who had been operating from Abaji, Abuja where he was said to be a popular Islamic cleric. Abaji, an Area Council headquarters in Abuja is along Lokoja-Abuja road.
Kabir, outcast at home, terror in Abuja
According to security officials, Sokoto a graduate of physics and chemistry from a Nigerian university was seen as very dangerous in Sokoto and was “induced and persuaded” by some powerful authorities in the state to relocate to another place.
He headed for Abaji where he was quickly recognized as a very deep Islamic scholar. This background was said to have been documented by the intelligence agency that trailed and arrested him and passed him to the police authorities that bungled the investigation this week with the dramatic escape of the terror suspect inside Abaji where they had taken him for further investigation without proper reinforcement.
Sources said that Abaji followers of Sokoto were not aware of the clandestine terror acts of their cleric that they had revered and that he had disappeared mysteriously from the community for some time. It was said that he was on his way out of the country when he was nabbed by security operatives in Abuja.
And so, the adherents of Sokoto were very shocked to see their Imam in handcuffs in a police van inside Abaji and they angrily overwhelmed the poorly equipped police officers that went with him on investigation. That was how the followers who had thought that police were up to some frame-up assisted Sokoto to escape.
There were questions about why the police did not shoot the suspect in chains when he was escaping and that development was said to have raised questions about the number of alleged terror acts of suspects that even state officials had helped to escape in police custody since 2009 when Boko Haram activities had become part of Nigeria’s unending nightmares.
It was learnt that apparently angry, Presidency officials are probing allegations last year that the terrorist that allegedly bombed the police headquarters was actually on the entourage of the police inspector general that was returning to the office at that hour. It was insinuated then that the suicide bomber who report revealed took off from Maiduguri had discussions with top people in the force before the tragedy occurred.
It was also hinted last night that government would probe the circumstances that led to the mysterious return of CP Zakari Biu who was allegedly linked to the sordid past of the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s killing fields.
These were the ideas at the Presidency last night even as questions too were being asked about the President’s procrastination in taking decisive actions against people that the media and the federal legislature had clearly reported as sleazy and incompetent, especially in the oil and gas sector and indeed the security and intelligence community.
The absence of adequate intelligence gathering by the nation’s security agencies has been identified as central to their inability to contain terrorism, amid efforts by the Senate to probe the escape of Kabir Umar.
The Senate’s move came yesterday against the background of more calls for the prosecution and dismissal of the police commissioner and other police officers who were responsible for the escape of Sokoto.
The Senate yesterday, directed its Committee on Police Affairs to commence full investigation into the circumstances that led to the said escape of the terrorist and report its findings within one week.
It also endorsed the increase of Justices of Court of Appeal from 70 to 90 to facilitate dispensation of justice in the country.
The Senate also adopted the 2012-2015 Medium Term Fiscal Frameworks (MTFF) and 2012 Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) following the submission of Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation’s report.
The legislators in October 2011 received a letter from President Goodluck Jonathan on the 2012-2015 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework. The report was consequently referred to appropriate committees for necessary inputs.
The documents outlined the principle components of the proposed government revenue and expenditure plan for four-year period.
The Senate also received President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to confirm the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde as the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to further empower him tackle the menace of corruption in the country.
The Senate has suspended Plenary till January 31 to allow committees time for budget defence.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Works, Force Headquarters, Abuja, and Sale Abubakar decried poor intelligence gathering in the Nigeria police and the absence of courage to fight back as responsible for the incessant terror attacks in the country.
Abubakar who was on two-day working visit to Benue State made the disclosure while addressing officers and men of the force at the state command headquarters, Makurdi.
He expressed dismay at the way the Boko Haram sect and criminals blow up police stations in the country without any arrest and stressed the need for officers of the force to be more proactive in tackling terror in the country.
On their part, monarchs in Borno State under the auspices of the Borno State Traditional Council of Chiefs led by the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi canvassed dialogue to tackle the Boko Haram menace, while the Niger Delta People’s Forum (NDPF), South West, under the leadership of George Utomhim threatened to launch reprisal attacks on Boko Haram. But the National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima yesterday blamed the ‘Northern oligarchy’ for the recurring Boko Haram menace and called for an urgent convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to avoid disintegration of the nation.
For former Governor of Kaduna State and Chairman of the Movement for Unity and Progress (MUP), Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd), the Federal Government should ensure that the full weight of the law was brought against the Police Commissioner, Mr. Zakari Biu and others allegedly behind the escape of Sokoto. He said that the action of the police officers was against the nation and her people.
A legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) called for the complete overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force and prosecution of officers involved in the escape of Sokoto from the detention.
The lawyer who spoke to the journalists at the Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) yesterday said it was only in Nigeria that such a thing could happen and urged the Federal Government to do all within its power to get to the root of what he described as “a sabotage.”
He said the escape of the suspect from the police custody had given credence to President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement that members of the Boko Haram sect had infiltrated the executive, the judiciary and the security agencies.
Also expressing disappointment at the police negligence, a former Vice Chancellor of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Tunji Orubuloye, said the Inspector General Of Police Hafiz Ringim should not only be dismissed but should be tried for heading such an organisation that betrayed the nation.
On his part, Delta State Governor Emmanuel said yesterday in Asaba that the state government had taken some measures to tackle insecurity.
Besides, the Yobe Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawan said in a telephone interview yesterday that in Nainawa and Pawari wards of Damaturu, a gang of suspected Boko Haram gunmen ambushed a police patrol vehicle, resulting in clashes that led to a 30-mitute sporadic shootout.